Today in Labor History: January 20

Chicago Crib Disaster—A fire breaks out during construction of a water tunnel for the city 2015.01.19—history-chicago.crib.disasterof Chicago, burning the wooden dormitory housing the tunnel workers. While 46 survive the fire by jumping into the frigid lake and climbing onto ice floes, approximately 60 men die, 29 burned beyond recognition and the others drowned – 1909

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) founded – 1920

The Nazis adopt the “Act on the Regulation of National Labor,” replacing independently negotiated collective agreements. The act read, in part, “The leader of the plant makes the decisions for the employees and laborers in all matters concerning the enterprise… He is responsible for the well-being of the employees and laborers. [They] owe him faithfulness.” – 1934

2015.01.19—history-mickey.mantleHardworking Mickey Mantle signs a new contract with the New York Yankees making him the highest paid player in baseball: $75,000 for the entire 1961 season – 1961

Bruce Springsteen’s “My Hometown,” a eulogy for dying industrial cities, is the country’s most listened-to song. The lyrics, in part: “Now Main Street’s whitewashed windows and vacant stores / Seems like there ain’t nobody wants to come down here no more / They’re closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks / Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain’t coming back to your hometown / Your hometown / Your hometown / Your hometown…” – 1986
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